The first suspected case of coronavirus infection in a child in Portugal has been reported this afternoon by the national health board (DGS).
In a statement, DGS says the child, who recently returned from a trip to China, has been taken to Lisbon’s Dona Estefânia Hospital which is the “designated paediatric hospital for these situations”.
The child will remain in the hospital’s care and undergo exams, the results of which will be analysed by the National Health Institute Dr. Ricardo Jorge (INSA).
DGS adds that it will be providing updates on the child’s conditions as soon as they become available.
This is the seventh suspected case of coronavirus infection in Portugal. Tests on all six previous patients came back negative.
Cases of coronavirus infection among children have been relatively rare. Most of the people affected are over the age of 50.
“We don’t fully understand the phenomenon – it may be because of differences in the immune responses of children compared to adults,” Dr Andrew Pavia, the chief of the Division of Paediatric Infectious Diseases at the University of Utah, told scientific news website Live Science.
“One hypothesis is that the innate immune response, that is the early response that is aimed broadly at groups of pathogens, tends to be more active in children,” he said.